I didn’t do it when it was trending. Ah well…

Pink Dots Birthday Photo Collage

This is the kind of thing I hate to write

I charm people for a living.
I charmed my teachers when I, an aspiring writer, took up science and maths instead of literature.
I charmed my students when I showed them the wonders of my subject matter when I wasn’t at all convinced with it — I would rather read novels than slog through a book filled with formulas and esoteric terminology.
I charmed the folks I met on the Internet by not disclosing my physical whereabouts except in cases where time zone differences would affect my health, and I almost always only tell people where I live through private channels.
The problem is, the situation is so terrible where I live now that I can’t disguise it with clever wordplay anymore.
And in case you think I could have escaped, you’re right — except that, despite having the right credentials, I can’t even go to the airport now.
I’m a foreigner living on what I’ve believed all my life to be a stepping stone to elsewhere greater, but I’m stuck and the crocs are gathering…
Thank God for technology. I only hope where I live does not become the next Iran.

The real meaning of “Cassandra”

It turns out that “Cassandra” is the female form of “Cassander”, one of the four generals who split up Alexander the Great’s kingdom after the ruler’s death.

“Cassander” means “light of man”. No wonder my mum’s admonitions to me NEVER TO BE FAMOUS didn’t work. This Bible verse speaks to me personally: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid” — Matthew 5:14 (KJV). In other words, I cannot be hidden. It’s also no coincidence that I’m born at a time when anyone with tech savvy and grit can dig up information about us. Nobody is hidden anymore, not even Luddites. Everyone is out there to discover everyone else’s secrets.

Therefore, the next time you read that the meaning of “Cassandra” is unknown, you’re looking at an untruth. Lamentably, in this age of female empowerment, almost everyone has taken for granted that “Cassandra” is a girl’s name and never considered that, historically, some girls’ names were derived from boys’. I can think of Victor/Victoria, Eric/Erica and Julius/Julia. Your examples may be better than mine.

Heads-up for skimmers or superficial readers, because you’ll need to read this paragraph many times lest you take my words out of context. This sorry revelation easily suggests a claim, which I duly hope is erroneous, stating “females don’t matter without males”, which, as we can see from recent history, has been challenged time and time again. On the flip side, how many men’s names are derived from women’s, how many names are unisex, and, most importantly, is gender supposed to be a point of contention and division, or a reason for unity, community, cooperation, mutual “put down your weapons” vulnerability, and, above all, love?

I stumbled across “Cassander” as I was studying Daniel 8’s prophecies today, and I wondered about its fulfillment in history, since verses 8 and 22 mention the split of a great power into four, and that reminded me of Alexander the Great. Thankfully, it’s rare for a man to be called “Cassander” now, lest someone mishear and disrespect him.

This is why #girlsinstem matter

The standard workout music accompanying my HIIT exercise videos has the disadvantage of aggravating inappropriate emotions in me (the lyrics having something to do with falling in love and hearts beating in time and being young and wild and free, and such sentiments had caused me more trouble than I could handle).

Fed up with it, last night, I finally wrote my own bash script so that I can listen to podcasts while keeping fit. This is why it matters that we have #GirlsInSTEM #WomenInSTEM #GirlsInTech #womenintech #GirlsWhoCode #WomenWhoCode!!!

The code is here: https://github.com/yieng/hiit-exercise-timer


Photo by Li Sun from Pexels

Carnival of Mathematics #172

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I’m riding on a Ferris wheel, wondering who’s the hamster on it…

You’re visiting Carnival of Mathematics #172 hosted by Cassandra Lee. Find all Carnivals here and the previous Carnival (#171) here. Many thanks to the Aperiodical for the wonderful opportunity to host this Carnival.

The Roman representation of the number 172 comprises the initials of my English name, the chromosomes determining my gender and the eating utensils that I use daily. Yes, that’s CLXXII. *gasps at the sudden weight on her shoulders*

Without further ado, let’s begin with something light-hearted. It’s easy to show that 172 = 2 × 2 × 43, an even composite number; it doesn’t appear special until you also learn that 172 is also a deficient number (the sum of the factors is less than the number itself: 2 + 2 + 43 = 47 < 172) and an evil number (!), which means it has an even number of 1’s in its binary representation (17210 = 101011002). Note that, if the units digit is relabelled the “zeroth/0-th” digit, then you can verify that the binary representation of 172 (= 101011002) has the following property:

The n-th digit is 1 if and only if n is prime.

Furthermore, 172 is in the lazy caterer’s sequence at n = 18; the maximum number of pieces you can get with 18 cuts of a circular pie is 172.

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